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Consider these few examples, 1 Under Constantinople communion was served to the laity in both kinds Like the Priest the. people received both the bread and wine of the Holy Communion Under Rome the priests. reserved the wine for themselves alone, 2 The Roman Church and its many monastic orders held title to much of the richest land in. Moravia and Bohemia land greatly desired by the native peoples. 3 The people were forced to accept foreign clergymen and government officials most of them. Germans their natural enemies, 4 Many of the people complained about the use of Latin in church worship They said Let us pray. to God in our language rather than in the dead words used by the priests. When John Hus 1 of Bohemia became a Roman Catholic priest in the year 1400 the times. were tinder dry Not only was it the time of the Great Schism but Rome had added corruption to. the list of crimes which the people of Moravia and Bohemia already abhorred Pope John XXIII. the first John 23rd an infamous rascal deposed by the Council of Constance who is not to be. confused with the beloved 20th century pope of the same name had authorized the sale of. indulgences Parish priest and other papal representatives and actually stooped to selling the. forgiveness of sins, From his position as Rector or President of the great University of Prague Hus started to speak. out against abuses of Rome particularly this last Prague was the capital of Bohemia and one of. the great centers of culture in the world of that day The university alone had a population of. more than 7 000 students Multitudes of people flocked to Bethlehem Chapel to hear Hus. sermons Repeatedly he argued and pled for reform within the Catholic Church Of course Hus. was not content merely to preach against abuse he also preached the pure gospel of Christ. that he found in the pages of the New Testament He further delighted his hearers by preaching it. in Czech not Latin and by declaring that all Christians had the right and duty to read and. interpret the Bible for themselves This so called heretical idea would later lie at the very. heart of the Protestant Reformation, Rome was shocked into activity Acting with the consent of John XXIII Hus archbishop.
ordered him to stop preaching his heretical ideas and urged him to recant Hus refused and. preached all the more vigorously Soon the charges against him multiplied some of them were. trumped up but some of them were an accurate reflection of what he taught 2 Their accuracy. reflected the depths of depravity into which corrupt clergy had led the church of that day. In the year 1415 Hus was ordered to appear before the Council of Constance 3 to recant his. teaching His allies warned him not to go declaring that it was better for him to continue his. work from the safety of Prague where he had many friends However Sigismund who was then. Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire offered to furnish Hus with a safe conduct He dutifully. promised that the Rector could safely go to Constance safely defend his doctrine and actions. and safely return to Prague Hus was eager to make the trip for he was sure that his doctrines. were anything but heretical He was equally sure that when the authorities had given his. arguments a fair hearing he would be vindicated in preaching them. Unfortunately upon his arrival at Constance Hus safe conduct was waived He was thrown into. prison The same authorities who had tricked him into coming revoked his safe passage. declaring that it was not necessary to keep faith with heretics. At his trial Hus was allowed no defense He was ordered to make his choice recant and be. imprisoned for life or refuse and be burned alive Like Martin Luther after him Hus refused to. recant He felt to do so would be to abandon the gospel of Christ. Hus was condemned On July 6th 1415 Dr John Hus Rector of the University of Prague and a. pre Reformation reformer was stripped of his rank in the church led to the site of his execution. bound hand and foot and burned 4 to death at the stake Today a stone erected on the edge of. Constance marks the site of this heinous crime,Organization of the Unitas Fratrum. The martyrdom of Hus intensified the anti Roman feeling in Bohemia His followers multiplied. and fourteen years of war followed There were three groups of Hus followers 1 Radicals. called Taborites who were willing to take up arms to accomplish their aims 2 Conservatives. called Utraquist who were concerned primarily with having communion in both kinds restored. to the laity and hoped for reform within the Church and 3 Moderates who were willing to leave. the church if need be but refused to take up arms These Moderates believed in the heart. religion which had been practiced by the primitive Christians of the New Testament Era For. awhile there was some degree of cooperation among these various protesting groups but in time. Rome drove a wedge between the radical Taborites and the conservative Utraquist This was. accomplished when Rome enticed the Utraquist back into the Catholic Church by granting the. priest in Bohemia the right to serve the laity both the bread and the wine during the Mass. As we have noted the Moderates could accept neither the war like ways of the radical Taborites. nor the quibbling ceremonialism of the conservative Utraquists Like Hus they believed in heart. religion To them the Christian faith was more than just a theological puzzle to be solved more. than just another means of organizing society and more than a battle to be fought it was a way. of life laid down by the Master Jesus Christ himself. In March of 1457 more than 500 years ago a large group of Moderates gathered in the village. of Kunwald near the castle of Lititz in Bohemia and formed a society which they first called. The Brethren of the Law of Christ Those who joined did not intend to become a separate church. Like the Conservatives they were perfectly content to remain within the established church but. Rome would not allow it The Unitas Fratrum traces its roots back to this society making the. Moravian Church the oldest Protestant Church in continuous existence today. The Episcopacy Secured, Although possessing a number of Protestant tendencies at the time of the formation of The. Brethren of the Law of Christ the Waldenses had not separated from Rome So like all other. Catholic bishops their bishops laid claim to the Apostolic Succession the historic Episcopacy. supposedly preserved from the days of the first apostles by a continuous laying on of hands from. one generation of bishops to the next In 1467 heedless of any supposed duty to Rome the. stalwart Waldensian bishops ordained nine members of The Brethren of the Law of Christ into. the ministry Three of them Matthias Thomas and Elias were consecrated as bishops So. commenced the line of bishops in our Moravian Church. The Moravian Church and Martin Luther, Persecution of the ancient Unity by Rome ebbed and flowed but the new church grew A little. over a century after its inception Rome was forced to turn its attention to a new trouble maker a. German clergyman by the name of Martin Luther Luther posted his Ninety Five Theses on the. door of the Wittenberg church and they started a fire seven times hotter than the flames which. consumed Hus The fire Luther started was none other than the spreading flame of the Protestant. Reformation, Was Luther s message that much superior to the message of Hus One invention which appeared. between the time of Hus and Luther clearly made a quantitative difference between the results. achieved by the two great reformers the art of printing by movable type Thirty seven years. after Gutenberg s death Luther used the printing press as a kind of technological megaphone. printing copies of his Ninety Five Theses faster than they could be gathered up and destroyed. If Hus had been able to share his views through the power of the printed word the fires of the. Reformation might have been lit a century earlier, As it was a natural affinity existed between the two movements Indeed The Unity was.
delighted with the reforms demanded by Luther and sought to make common cause with him. The merger did not succeed Why not, Their disagreements revolved around one issue Luther believed that man was saved and. justified by faith alone The Brethren of the Law of Christ like Hus felt that for faith to be. genuine it must find expression through day to day Christian living They said it was not a. matter of faith or works but of faith that works insisting that faith ought to be visible in the. lives of those who profess it, Ironically more than a century later when Count Zinzendorf the leader of the renewed church. and John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement discussed the same issue Zinzendorf. would sound as if he were defending the position of Luther and Wesley that of the early. Moravians Wesley s reflection on that conversation would serve as good commentary about this. and many other discussions between Christians of different outlooks Wesley said Our quarrel. is altogether about words, Though the members of the Ancient Unity were unable to make alliance with Luther by the time. of the great Reformer s death they had some 200 organized societies and congregations in. Moravia Bohemia and Poland Despite occasional periods of persecution The Unitas Fratrum. had grown large and tremendously influential,Literacy Education. Members of The Unity believed that all Christians had both the right and the duty to read and. interpret the scriptures for themselves Not surprisingly they were the first Protestant Church to. publish a Bible translated from the original Hebrew and Greek languages into a native tongue. This significant work of scholarship was called the Kralitz Bible. During the Counter Reformation Catholic authorities in Moravia and Bohemia confiscated and. burned all of these Bibles that they could find However thanks to the ingenuity of the Moravian. women quite a few were preserved How did they do it When the authorities came to call. housewives placed the scriptures in a baked loaf of bread Bread for the table used to preserve. the Bread of Life Several copies of the Kralitz Bible which were so preserved are periodically. displayed in our American Archives, Love of the scriptures carried an additional benefit for our ancestors Since members of The.
Unity were eager for their own children to be able to read the Bible they became educational. pioneers publishing many other books besides During the years 1505 1510 the impressive. number of sixty books were published in Bohemia More impressive still fifty of them came. from presses owned by The Unity Luther was not the only one to make use of Gutenberg s. The Hidden Seed, The Ancient Unity did not flourish for ever During the bloody Thirty Year s War The Holy. Roman Empire set itself the task of exterminating Protestantism in Bohemia Farms homes. churches and villages of The Unity were again destroyed In 1620 at the Battle of White. Mountain the Protestant forces were smashed and dispersed by the Roman forces The years of. 1620 1628 came to be known as the time of dispersion When King Ferdinand came to power in. Bohemia and the holocaust commenced there were some three million Protestants in that land. When Ferdinand had completed his assault upon the Protestant churches there were less than. one million persons remaining On one infamous Day of Blood twenty seven of the premier. leaders of The Unity were publicly executed Though old records maintain that in order to. escape the wrath of the Ferdinand 36 000 families of The Brethren of the Law of Christ. successfully fled from Bohemia to Moravia Silesia and Poland we are left to reckon that the. others surely more than one million persons were either dead or banished In the history of. humankind few nations and no church have been so completely destroyed. So ended an era in the history of our Moravian Church By 1628 little remained of The Ancient. Unity Malice and force of arms had destroyed a people that at one time had been numbered in. the hundreds of thousands Never the less the ideals of The Brethren of the Law of Christ. survived in the heart of a few,John Amos Comenius, John Amos Comenius became a bishop of The Unity during the last of those days when the. Brethren were a great educational and religious force in Bohemia He himself was an educator. and writer of international reputation Consider these few accomplishments. 1 He has been described with justification as The Father of Modern Education. 2 One of his books The Gate of Language Unlocked has been translated into fifteen different. 3 There was a time when Comenius was offered the presidency of a new college in the. Massachusetts colony named Harvard, 4 Today the name of Comenius is inscribed with those of other great educators of the past on the. outside walls of one of the buildings of the Teacher s College of Columbia University. 5 Comenius like Hus before him was admired not just as a religious leader but as a Czech. patriot Indeed the Communists themselves built a beautiful Comenius Museum near the place. of his birth It contains a wonderful collection of his writings and other artifacts relating to his. life and work A huge statue of him stands in front of the museum Statues of Comenius are to be. seen in other historic places too In 1957 the Czech people observed the Three Hundredth. Anniversary of the publication of his book The Great Didactic Though the Communists did not. ignore the fact that Comenius was a church leader they certainly did not emphasize it. 6 Time Life selected the discovery of childhood by Comenius 55 on100 top events in the. millennium, When Comenius was first consecrated a bishop the Brethren s Church ranked among the great. religious forces of Central Europe It had spread into Moravia Silesia and Poland It was not to. last Comenius had the tragic experience of watching the once great church of which he was a. bishop destroyed before his eyes As his people melted away fleeing from Bohemia or. remaining in their homes to be forced back into the Roman Church Comenius resolved to plant. what he called the hidden seed He urged his people to cherish their accustomed ways and pass. them on father to son until the evil days were past He wrote. We certainly ought to take care that the foundations of our Unity may not be so entirely. ruined as to make it impossible for our posterity to find them. Comenius also worked to preserve the Apostolic line of succession of the bishops and ministers. of The Unity He arranged that others among them his son in law Peter Jablonsky should. become bishops Although Comenius himself outlived Peter Jablonsky the Episcopacy of the. Unitas Fratrum did remain intact Fittingly one of the lines in the unbroken chain was Daniel. Ernest Jablonsky son of Peter Jablonsky and grandson of Comenius. At last having done all that he could for his church Comenius himself was compelled to flee his. native land He fled first to Poland then to England where he sought aid for his church from the. Archbishop of Canterbury Finally Comenius journeyed to Holland It was there he died and it is. there where his body is now enshrined in a lovely chapel. Before moving on to the history of the Renewed Church let me interject a personal note. In 1957 four Moravian ministers from the United States made an official visit to Czechoslovakia. on the occasion of our church s 500th Anniversary Official representatives from other countries. where our church carries on work joined us there Together we were taken by bus on a specially. conducted tour of historic Moravian churches and other sites of interest The tour was. comprehensive Every courtesy was extended to us We could not help but admire the many. statues of Comenius and we expressed the wish that a similar statue might stand on the campus. of our Moravian College in Bethlehem Pennsylvania Though it took some time our wish was. ultimately granted Three years later a large statue of Comenius the work of a well known. contemporary Czech sculptor was received by Moravian College in Bethlehem It was placed. before the administration building fittingly named Comenius Hall and officially unveiled on. March 28 1960 Since that time the College has annually observed this date as Comenius Day. The statue was a gift from The Unity of the Brethren in Czechoslovakia and the University of. Prague and stands as a dramatic symbol of our Unity and its world wide fellowship. The Renewed Moravian Church The Carpenter and the Count. The hidden seed planted by Comenius sprouted to new life as the result of the interest and efforts. of a wandering Moravian carpenter named Christian David It is interesting how carpenters. have had such a large place in Christian history As I recall it was The Carpenter of Nazareth. who started it all Well as a follower of The Carpenter this carpenter Christian David lived an. astonishing history of his own Born a Roman Catholic he was unsure of his faith and restless. He first sought peace of heart in the Lutheran Church but was not satisfied He then tried the. army thinking that activity might quiet his mind and heart but he was restless still Finally. David found what he sought among the people of the Ancient Unity Immediately he became. their spokesman and champion, In May 1722 Christian David met a young Count named Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf.
David told the Count of his yearning for a place of refuge where he and some of his friends. might practice the heart religion of the primitive Christians Zinzendorf who had recently. purchased an estate at Berthelsdorf in Upper Lusatia expressed interest in David s dream He. said he would consider settling a few such families on his land. That was enough for a man of action like David While the Count was still considering what to. do David set into motion a chain of events that some say had the effect of making up the. Count s mind for him David hustled over into Moravia and told some of his friends among the. old Brethren families about the Count s offer They liked the idea at once So it was that on. May 25 1722 Christian David led a party of ten persons out of Moravia and over the. mountains to Berthelsdorf Zinzendorf was absent from his estate at the time of their arrival His. steward and his grandmother who lived on an adjoining estate were somewhat surprised at. David s story Never the less they allowed these strange refuges to occupy some land on the. estate On June 17 1722 David felled the first tree When the Count returned home he found he. had unexpected guests The suddenness of David s action astonished him In fact the Count was. just beginning to become acquainted with the unexpected ways of Christian David Years later. he would say of that curious man there was only one So it was that through this godly. carpenter Christian David the hidden seed of Comenius came to life and flowered again. Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, From childhood Count Zinzendorf had experienced deep religious inclinations and these were. cultivated by the piety of his family Later in life reflecting on his youth he wrote At the age. of five I was as sure of my faith in Jesus as I was that I had five fingers on my right hand. As a child of the nobility Zinzendorf was given the benefits of a first rate education He studied. at both the University of Halle and the University of Wittenberg His studies served to reinforce. his religious vocation While still a student Zinzendorf established a religious society called The. Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed Members of the society whose members wore rings. inscribed No man liveth unto himself,They pledged three things. 1 To be kind to all men,2 To be true to Christ,3 To send the Gospel to the world. In 1719 1720 after Zinzendorf graduated from university his family sent him on a. Wanderjahr a grand tour of the continent without which no young nobleman in Europe was. considered fully educated In the course of his travels he came to an art gallery in D sseldorf. where he saw a painting entitled Ecce Homo by an artist named Domenico Feti that had a. profound effect upon him It was a picture of the thorn crowned Christ Underneath the picture. the artist had placed an inscription This I have suffered for you but what have you done for. me The memory of this question haunted Zinzendorf throughout his life Ultimately he would. say From that moment I was His and His alone, It was Zinzendorf s dedication to Christ that prepared him for his leadership of the Moravian. refugees Indeed Zinzendorf remained true to the three pledges to which he had subscribed as a. member of The Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed The spirit of the first two caused him to. allow the Moravian refugees to settle on his estate and to build the town of Herrnhut The third. pledge resulted in the Moravian Church becoming the Mother of the Protestant Foreign. Mission Movement, It has been often noted that Count Zinzendorf was a strange sometimes contradictory man To.
the end of his life he remained a Lutheran At the same time he accepted consecration as a bishop. of The Unity His noble birth opened many doors for him and he was never afraid to use his. position for even the privileges gained by nobility and position he had devoted wholly to Christ. Secular or sacred Zinzendorf used whichever office suited his immediate need and. circumstance Of course nobility and flexibility were not his only assets His mind was quick. and he possessed an amazingly retentive memory He was a gifted speaker and a talented writer. especially of poetry Words poured into his mind faster than he could set them down on paper. Zinzendorf ranks as one of the most prolific of Protestant hymn writers Finally it must be. observed that his warm heart and intelligent mind were augmented by his open extended hand. Unlike many religious leaders Zinzendorf respected the beliefs of other churches One. biographer rightly called him The Ecumenical Pioneer It was Zinzendorf s ecumenical bent. that made him stubbornly refuse to encourage the Unitas Fratrum to become a separate church. To him Moravians were members of a Christian society who practiced their way of life within. the framework of the established churches the Lutheran Church in Germany and areas of. German influence the Anglican Church in Britain and areas of British influence Never the less. his hand could be as firm as it was open and it was that firmness that enabled Moravian s to be. all we have been and to do all we have done,Zinzendorf Takes a Firm Hand. By 1727 there were about three hundred refugees in the new town of Herrenhut They were a. mixed lot Their religious background ranged from Roman Catholic to Anabaptist There were a. number of Lutherans and Calvinist among them Geographically there were dissenters from. Moravia Bohemia Poland and Germany Of course they were not all so remarkable nor so. dedicated to the Savior as Christian David There were fanatics among them and no small. amount of bigotry In this fledgling community clash and friction were inevitable It became. necessary for Zinzendorf to take a firm hand over them but this he was prepared to do. On May 12 1727 Zinzendorf called together his quarreling refugees and reminded them that. they were recipients of his hospitality He told them that as professing Christians they must. learn to live together in brotherly love He called them to prayer and he submitted to them a set. of rules and regulations based upon the discipline of the ancient Bohemian Brethren which he. had recently discovered in the writings of Bishop Comenius The refugees from Moravia rejoiced. in this recognition by Zinzendorf of their ancient tradition The others acquiesced This Brotherly. Agreement known today as The Brotherly Agreement now known as The Covenant for. Christian Living appealed to the all the villagers of Herrnhut It emphasized day to day. Christian living covering everything from the use of strong drink to the care and education of. children to the responsibility for the aged,The Revival of August 13th 1727. Those days following May 12th 1727 were days of intensive prayer Herrnhut became one great. prayer meeting Old differences were resolved and new friendships formed Finally on August. 13 1727 a communion was held in the Lutheran Church at Berthelsdorf which was one mile. from Herrnhut and the central village of the Zinzendorf estate A Lutheran pastor named Rothe. presided The service was later said to be a veritable Pentecost for the Holy Spirit came upon all. with great power much like that first Pentecostal morning out of which came the Christian. Church It must not be thought that this revival was shallow emotionalism It was nothing less. than an outpouring of Christian love which immediately replaced the distrust and dissension of. the past Those who had been at odds made their peace Not only so but a mighty urge again. like the first Pentecost came upon them to carry the Gospel out to those who had never heard it. The Choir System, Zinzendorf was never more in his element than in the early days of the Moravian expansion. Mission was in the air but before that mission could succeed it needed a firm foundation Thus. Zinzendorf led in the organization of the entire community at Herrenhut for instruction worship. and work He introduced a plan of Christian education much like the graded system of. instruction in our church schools It was called The Choir System The classifications of this. system were,Little Boys,Little Girls,Older Boys,Older Girls. Single Brothers,Single Sisters,Married Couples, Each choir had its special meetings and times for instruction Usually the sexes were divided for.
instruction and worship Although the married couples met together in the same service they sat. separately They still do this in some of our old European centers like Herrnhut. Economic Development in the Settlements, With organization of the community accomplished the Count turned his attention to the. economic development of Herrenhut The pattern established there would be used for the. development of more than twenty Moravian settlements all around the world The Elders of the. church watched over every phase of life secular as well as spiritual The village itself operated. on a communal basis in which every member contributed according to his ability and shared. according to his need There was no competition in business and the congregation owned and. controlled all the resources of the community The industrial arts were carried on within the. village and many Moravians were noted artisans Those who did not work as artisans often. labored on the farms They too lived in the village but they went out each day to the adjoining. Day by day from birth until death these early Moravian tried to make the Christian religion as. much a part of life as breathing Naturally all who came to Herrnhut or one of the other. communities to apply for membership were carefully screened Many were refused No converts. were sought at Herrnhut nor in any of the later Moravian centers There was no home mission. activity nor has there been any of consequence until within the last fifty to seventy five years. Rather the congregation was divided into those who remained at home and worked and those. who went out to carry the gospel to other lands Bishop Spangenberg told those who lived in the. settlements that they were the commissariat or the supply department for those on active. mission in far away lands It was a good system Each person contributed to the welfare of all. and each received according to his or her need and the first fruits of each settlement s labors. always went to further the mission endeavor,The Moravian Mission. In 1732 the island of St Thomas West Indies now one of the U S Virgin Islands was the first. mission field entered by the Moravians Other missionaries were there ahead of them but they. worked primarily among the planters and other Europeans The Moravians went to the Blacks. who had been taken there against their wills and kept as slaves More than 13 000 of them. became Christians before another Protestant Church established a mission there. Early mission work was also carried on in Greenland The Moravian mission to that icy land was. first launched in 1733 The first converts were made among the Eskimos in 1739 An interesting. story surrounds those early efforts Moravian work in that frozen and inhospitable land did not. meet with immediate success Indeed after more than a year on station they were so discouraged. by the total lack of reception that the Eskimos had given them that one of their number could. Here toils a little group of men,Endowed with scanty powers. And day by day in blank despair,They count the dreary hours. But the time came when the message of the missionaries to Greenland was received Their first. successes came immediately after they abandoned preaching abstract theological doctrine and. adopted the picturesque narrative method In his book The History of the Moravian Missions. James Hutton describes this change of method and the results that it produced. In the past they had discoursed about the Fall of Man and the Plan of Salvation hence forward. they gave the people the Passion Story in detail and the Eskimos themselves soon noticed the. difference At the story of Adam and Eve they had merely wondered at the story of the Crown. of Thorns they wept and sometimes at the baptismal service their tears dripped into the font. When informed of the success of the Greenland Mission Count Zinzendorf said Henceforth. we shall preach nothing but the love of the slaughtered Lamb From that time forward Moravian. evangelists were schooled in telling the Passion Story the story of Christ s death on the cross. for humankind as succinctly and as simply as possible. The Moravians also went to Lapland They tried to go to Siberia but a suspicious Russian. government blocked them They went to Surinam South America where the largest Moravian. congregation today is located in Paramaribo They went to Labrador Ceylon South Africa. Cairo Constantinople Baghdad and Jerusalem where they established a home for lepers Later. they went to Central America to Nicaragua and Honduras and to Alaska In his book Alaska. James Mitchner paints a very sympathetic picture of the Moravian work there. By 1735 the Moravians in Herrenhut had launched the most ambitious mission program the. Protestant world had ever known Missionaries had gone forth to the four winds and individual. brethren and small bands wandered over Europe spreading the word of their way of life. The First Bishops of the Renewed Church, As The Renewed Unity launched their foreign missionary program first in 1732 among the.
Negro slaves of the West Indies and later in other parts of the world they felt the need of a. ministry of their own both in the mission fields and in America in order to have standing and to. be able to perform baptisms marriages etc, In 1735 two bishops of the ancient Brethren of Bohemia still lived Bishop Jablonsky and. Bishop Stikovius On March 13 1735 Bishop Jablonsky with the written approval of Bishop. Stikovius consecrated David Nitschman another godly carpenter as the first bishop of the. Renewed Church In 1737 Zinzendorf then an ordained Lutheran minister was also consecrated. a Moravian bishop,The American Mission, In the 18th century much of the world s movement was to the New World It was quite natural. that the Moravians should go there Since the American colonies were largely under the Church. of England Zinzendorf sought the approval of the British Parliament to start Moravian work. there Parliament responded favorably and in 1749 declared the Moravian Church to be An. ancient Protestant Episcopal Church most similar in doctrine to our own. The Georgia Mission John Wesley, It was during the winter of 1736 on a voyage from England to Georgia that the Moravians first. made contact with John Wesley Wesley was going to the new world for the purpose of. preaching the gospel to the Indians The Moravians were going to begin a new life and to. establish new settlements each of which would in their own turn send out missionaries to the. Indian tribes, Wesley s own Journal is a premier source of information about these early encounters. Initially Wesley was impressed by the humility and Christ like character exhibited by the people. whom he called the Germans but he was still more impressed by the courage displayed by. their women and children in the midst of a terrible storm Thankfully in a journal entry dated. Sunday 25 January 1736 Wesley has recorded the story of this meeting in his own words He. said that it took place on a day of foul weather and intermittent storms Wesley set the. background for the incident when he wrote Every ten minutes came a shock from the high. seas against the stern or side of the ship which one would think should dash the planks to. pieces A bit later he continued, At seven I went to the Germans I had long before observed the great seriousness of their.
behavior Of their humility they had given a continual proof by performing those servile offices. for the other passengers which none of the English would undertake for which they desired and. would receive no pay saying it was good for their proud hearts and their loving Saviour had. done more for them And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no. injury could move If they were pushed struck or thrown down they rose again and went away. but no complaint was found in their mouth There was now an opportunity of trying whether they. were delivered from the spirit of fear as well as from that of pride anger and revenge In the. midst of the psalm wherewith their service began the sea broke over split the main sail in. pieces covered the ship and poured in between the decks as if the great deep had already. swallowed us up A terrible screaming began among the English The Germans calmly sung on I. asked one of them afterwards Were you not afraid He answered I thank God no I asked. But were not your women and children afraid He replied mildly No our women and. children are not afraid to die, From them I went to their crying trembling neighbors and pointed out to them the difference in. the hour of trial between him that feareth God and him that feareth Him not At twelve the wind. fell This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen. Wesley quickly made common cause with the members of The Unity using every opportunity to. converse or worship with them They accepted him but not without reservation At least some of. their number thought him at this point in his life a restless soul not fully convinced of his. own salvation Wesley himself would later own that very evaluation At any rate events that. followed proved that he was not yet equipped to handle the responsibility of serving his faith in. Indeed after a year and one half in Georgia Wesley had had enough Constantly criticized he. had several times been brought to court on charges trumped up by people who though him. tactless and overbearing At last under orders by the courts to the contrary he took ship to return. to England His journal entry for 24 January 1738 records his state of mind after this failure was. bleak and his soul was indeed restless He summed it up when he asked I went to America to. convert the Indians but O who shall convert me, Upon his return to England Wesley again made common cause with the Moravians He was. particularly enamored with Peter Bohler In journal entries dated 22nd and 23rd April Wesley. records that he confessed to Bohler that he was unsure of his faith and that he had considered. leaving off preaching Bohler responded No do not hide in the earth the talent God hath given. It was a turning point with Wesley Increasingly he would pour over the scriptures to see if the. Moravian doctrine of saving faith being given to the believer in an instant could really be true. Though the battle continued for several weeks the time came when Wesley accepted this. doctrine not just because he found it in scripture and not just because he had interviewed. persons who claimed the experience but because he himself shared the experience In a journal. entry dated May 14 1738 he records that as he sat in a meeting of The Society on Aldersgate. Street listening as one was reading Luther s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans at about. quarter before nine he felt, my heart strangely warmed I felt I did trust in Christ Christ alone for salvation And an. assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins even mine and saved me from the law. of sin and death, John Wesley the spiritual father of the Methodist Church came to know the Moravians well At. first enamored with them he ultimately decided that he must follow Christ along a different path. If one carefully examines the record of the interchanges between Wesley and the Moravians one. cannot help but be reminded of the friendship between Paul and Barnabas Friends and co. workers for years they ultimately parted company over after disagreeing over John Mark The. Acts 15 31 46 records that they were about to take another missionary journey. We ll take John Mark said Barnabas, No we won t responded Paul he quit on us last time.
If we don t take him we will go our separate paths Barnabas threatened. And now we sing It was good for Paul and Silas it was good for Paul and Silas. After their parting both Paul and Barnabas continued to serve Christ each in his own way Who. then can say which of them was right and which was wrong in the matter of John Mark It may. be that God willed the response of both men Tradition says that at a latter time Mark was. Peter s companion in Rome and the author of the 2nd gospel Perhaps John Mark needed the. second chance offered by Barnabas and the stern rebuke offered by Paul to make him into the. stalwart Christian witness he would become, At any rate we may certainly believe that God intended the Moravians and Methodists to go. their separate ways each denomination acting in its own way for God s good purposes. The Migration to Pennsylvania, From Georgia the Moravians under Spangenberg went to Pennsylvania Settlements were. established at Bethlehem and Lititz They thrived particularly the settlement at Bethlehem. Today it is the home of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary The National. Geographic once featured Bethlehem as The Christmas City It is said that Zinzendorf himself. gave the settlement its biblical name It was Christmas Eve and a small band of settlers was. confined by the weather to a tiny cabin with an attached barn As was their custom they held. evening worship It was made particularly special because of the day As the Christmas Story. was read in a fit of inspiration Zinzendorf moved the service into the attached barn There in a. lowly cattle shed Christmas Eve was celebrated and a great city got its name. An interesting experience befell Zinzendorf in Philadelphia A group of Lutherans had organized. a congregation in Germantown They had requested a Lutheran minister but none had been sent. Indeed to this point no Lutheran ministers had been sent to the new world In lieu of a minister. of their own they asked Zinzendorf to be their pastor perhaps expecting to become Moravians. In accordance with his usual attitude about the Moravian ministry Zinzendorf declined Never. the less Lutherans in Europe heard about it and soon dispatched ministers of their own to. America They were sore afraid that Zinzendorf would gain too much influence over Lutherans. in the New World Perhaps e Moravians missed yet another opportunity I wonder what our. church would be like to day if we had formed closer ties with the Wesleys and or the Lutherans. Would many of their number now call themselves Moravians It is as interesting thought. Down to North Carolina, In 1753 Moravian established their first settlement in North Carolina The settlement was built. on a part of a 100 000 acre tract secured from Lord Granville There were 15 carefully selected. men who went first led by a Moravian minister Bernhard Adam Grube Congregation. settlements were established in Bethabara in 1753 in Bethania in 1756 and in the central town. of Salem meaning Peace in 1766 The Herrnhut plan was followed in these American. settlements Only Moravians lived within the settlement There was first the Congregation. House then the Church the Widows House the Sisters House and the Brothers House Today. these restored buildings can be seen in Old Salem, Of course though these buildings have been restored as to original form they have not been. restored to original use Today our Moravian Church is much like any other While the. Moravian Church owns its old buildings in these congregation settlements every vestige of the. old communal life is gone The single men and single women no longer live in separate groups. The Widows House has become a church home for widows and unmarried women The only. remnant of the old community life is the fact that title to all Moravian Church property is held by. central holding corporations chartered under the laws of the states of North Carolina where. Winston Salem is the headquarters of the Southern Province and Pennsylvania where. Bethlehem is the headquarters of the Northern Province. Government, As we have noted in 1749 the British Parliament recognized The Unitas Fratrum as An ancient.
Protestant Episcopal church most similar in doctrine to our own Our government is Episcopal. in that we have bishops who are in the line of the Apostolic succession Yet our bishops are not. ex officio administrative officers They may be elected to such office and some are Others may. continue in the pastorate as in my case A bishop is expected to be a pastor of the pastors and. as such is their counselor A bishop presides at church consecrations ground breakings corner. stone layings and other similar functions A bishop alone has the power to ordain to the first two. orders of the ministry deacons and presbyters or priests and to assist in the consecration of other. bishops At least three bishops are required for a service of Episcopal consecration The office of. bishop is also intercessory and the bishop carries on his or her heart and in his or her prayers the. whole church together with special intercessions The bishop is also charged with promoting and. leading the ministry of intercession in the churches. Yet though we have retained our bishops the present form of government in the Moravian. Church is not unlike that in the Presbyterian Church Church legislation is enacted by Synods. made up of representatives of the churches both lay and clergy Each Province has its own. Synod Once each ten years a Unity Synod is held in which representatives from all of our home. and mission provinces assemble, Each Provincial Synod elects an executive board to govern the church and carry out the. enactment s of Synod during the Intersynodal period It is called the Provincial Elders. Conference In America it is composed of ministers and lay persons In the other provinces. ministers only usually three compose the board I served for six years as vice president of the. Southern Province Provincial Elders Conference immediately prior to my election to the.

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